What Does it Mean to be Charitable?

What Does it Mean to be Charitable?

Melanie poses a challenging question with this post. Are you thinking about charity at this time of year? Melanie is and she has an interesting way of looking at it.

At this time of year, more than others, I find myself thinking about charity and giving. It can be really easy to avoid giving and really easy to give mindlessly, but lately I’ve been challenging myself to think about what true charity looks like. True charity, to me, is more difficult.

I used to be a strong advocate for giving money to people/places where you know exactly what it will be used for. While I think this is still very important in some cases, in others I think it can take away from true charity. I started to change my mind on this when I read the story about the $100 challenge.

In short summary, the gentleman who started it gave $100 to someone begging in the street. He didn’t say “I’ll buy you a gift card so you can only use it for food.” He just gave that money away. Yes, maybe it was used for something I might not approve of, but that man who was asking for money was treated like an adult, not a child. He got to make a choice about how it was spent. It empowered him and gave him something more than $100.

There are three things I’m challenging myself with when it comes to charity this season and this coming year:

  • Give what they need and want
  • Go beyond giving of my abundance
  • Focus on the receiver and not on me

What would you add to the list? Do you think charity is important? What do you think it means to be charitable?

photo credit: K@ja

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